Hampton Head 2016 – WJ18 8+

It’s encouraging to see such a large entry for women’s eights this year, and there are so many crews I will not be able to cover all of them, but instead mention my top 5, and then a few others to watch out for at the end.

Headington School- Curtis

Headington are the top girls school for this event, and have been for over a decade, with multiple consecutive wins at National Schools and Henley Women’s Regatta. They would usually be the favourite, however this season there have been hints that they may be finally knocked off the top spot. They lost to an eight from LEH at Head of the Charles in October, and then to Henley at Wallingford. No doubt they’ll be looking to regain dominance as soon as possible, but with both the aforementioned crews following directly behind them, I predict a long 3km for these girls as they try and keep a great enough distance ahead to secure first place.

Henley RC- Lister

This Henley crew is currently the fastest women’s crew out there. Henley’s win count before Christmas was almost innumerable, with first places in both Junior events at the Fours Head followed by wins at Wallingford and Quintin Head (though admittedly, they lost to their own J16s at the latter). Their technique as a crew is especially impressive, and I can see them putting a lot of pressure on Headington as they chase the down the course.

Lady E Holles- Cole

This is one of two LEH eights entered in this event. I am going to assume this is their first eight, although there is a possibility that the crews are matched. LEH started the season well in America, beating Headington with an impressive 23rd place out of 85 crews at the Head of the Charles, making them the fastest British crew. They haven’t performed as well in small boats, but on home water I think they’ll clock a fast time on Saturday.

Sir William Borlase- Ryman-King

Borlase are generally strong in women’s sweep events, shown by their silver medals in Girls Champ 8s at National Schools last year. This season they came second in Junior 4+ at Fours Head and, although they lost to St Paul’s Girls School at Wallingford Head, if this eight contains their strongest girls I think they’ll put in a good result.

Marlow- Matthews

I have included Marlow in my top five because they are known for their exploits on the sculling scene, but they’ll be looking to build on their success in the eight. After an incredibly impressive Marlow J16 8+ finished their season with a 2nd place at National Schools in 2015, they’ll be looking to consolidate in 2016. Marlow had some strong seniors last year, including Molly Harding, who went on to win a silver medal at the junior world championships in a quad. If they have merged their J18s and J17s together for this crew, I think it could be the surprise of the day, possibly even pushing into the top three depending on the practice they have had in this combination already.


Also worth mentioning are Surbiton High School- Pearson, again generally considered a ‘sculling’ school, however they got a bronze in both Champ 4x and 4+ last year at national schools, showing the club has the depth to move into this bigger boat class. Godolphin School- Turner, Emanuel School- Chauhan-Sims, and St Pauls Girls School have also been performing well, finishing 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively in J18 8+ at Quintin Head two weeks ago.


Prediction: 1st Henely RC, 2nd Headington, 3rd Marlow or LEH


Good luck to all crews!